March 2021, Part III

Click here or on the photo above for the rest of the March pictures

We’ve been talking about it for years, and decided finally to do it: Remodel the kitchen. The main goal is to introduce a second oven, secondary goal is to increase storage space a little bit, third goal is to replace the countertops with slab, which means the sink will also be replaced, and apparently we also need to have white cabinets, and apparently that means we’re replacing all the cabinets. We’ll extend the island lengthwise by six inches and make room for 36″ free-standing gas oven+range (which will require a ventilation hood that retracts into the island), extend the island widthwise far enough to put a row of cabinets, and make the island all one level. The rest of the kitchen will mostly be the same, just new. We might take the little gap between the existing oven and the fridge and just make it a flat wall of cabinets.

We agreed to a proposal with a contractor and we’ll be meeting with the cabinet supplier this week. They tell us it will only take three weeks to complete, but it’s going to be a challenging three weeks — construction work while we are working from home, and no way to cook or clean?

The kids have been asking for digital garbage (levels or skins or maps or whatever for apps on their iPads), which costs money, and KrisDi stopped arbitrarily complying or denying. Now the kids have to pay for their own. And consequently they now are interested in doing chores for money. Not the best motivation for helping the family, but gets them off the couch. Chilkoot seems to like vacuuming, and Chilkat seems pretty comfortable scrubbing toilet bowls. Here they’re both sweeping.

Chilkoot is prepping for first communion. KrisDi bought him a white suit. He’s doing the classes / learning stuff online. Recently, he went into the church for his first confession. He was pretty cute about it. He says he felt better afterward.

I got my covid19 vaccination last week. The latest tier that opened up in Washington included my age group if they have two underlying conditions…I’m overweight and I have asthma. KrisDi was able to get me an appointment on the first day the tier opened. I expected to get the Moderna vaccine (which requires a second dose), but learned when I arrived I was getting the Johnson & Johnson (which does not require a second dose). It was in an old Sports Authority in a mall in Auburn. There were more workers than patients. I arrived 45 minutes early, and they waved me right in. The day after the shot, I was slightly nauseous in the morning, and I was totally wiped out. I took half the day off and took a four hour nap, and then went to bed early.

Mom can visit us again. She’s vaccinated, KrisDi is vaccinated, I got my shot last week. The kids are basically the lowest risk category. It’s nice to see her again. It also means she could help me with replacing the garage door bottom seal, which was a very frustrating experience.

After our excitement with the mouse, we had a local pest control company send someone out to visit us. He spent a couple hours looking around our crawlspace, attic, the outer edges of the house, the inner edges and corners, etc. He found one drain pipe in the crawlspace that could be an entry point but didn’t have real evidence of being so, but he covered it in wire mesh anyway. He also found that the garage door bottom seal was a couple inches too short, leaving a space large enough for mice to get in, and that was evidence along that side of the garage that mice had been there, but not recently. He put a few traps around inside the house, the garage, and the outside of the house.

I bought a replacement seal at Lowes, only to learn that the standard T-shaped ends would not work with my garage door, which requires fatter bead ends. I had to order that online. Removing the old, stiff one was very slow and frustrating. Putting the new one in was also slow and frustrating, and required two people, one to guide it in and the other to try to pull it across. We got it all the way in, and I trimmed it to size like you’re supposed to, and then the 16′ length of plastic contracted by about three inches, making it somewhat shorter than the one I was trying to replace. Also, it wasn’t quite poofy enough to hit the ground across the entire length of the door.

Chilkat has grown about 6″ since the pandemic began. Chilkat also started hybrid school. She was really nervous about it beforehand, but after the second ay she was really excited. Now Chilkoot has two (sometimes four) other kids at the bus stop with him.

All the flowers KrisDi planted last year are coming up, but apparently rabbits think they’re delicious. Some of them have been devoured down to nubs. Now KrisDi is trying every countermeasure she can find — stinky sprays, spicy powders, human hair trimmings, egg shells…not entirely successful, but we do still have some plants. On a related note, it appears that the new trees we put in yesterday are not dead yet.

The kids have continued to work on their Kettleworks Frozen production.

HB and I bought a collection of barleywines from Brouwer’s as part of “Hard Liver Fest At Home” or something similar (in lieu of Hard Liver Fest at Brouwer’s). We’ve Zoomed and drank several of them. The ones we have left we want to drink physically together, because we have different years of the same beer, or in one case different beers entirely, and we want to share. Now that I’m vaccinated, and I think he’s at least half vaccinated, maybe we’ll be able to actually do that this summer.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

March 2021 Part II

KrisDi’s tulips and crocuses (croci?) continued to grow and bloom, as has her skirmish with the local fauna. She started spreading baby powder, chili powder, some sort of spray, and has most recently started putting buckets and pots with rocks on top of them (upside down) overnight and then uncovering them in the morning. I’m personally not sure if it’s going well or not, but there are definitely some scars.

We had a neat rainbow (this might have been the day where we realized it was raining in the front but not the back). We also had a couple nice sunsets (seen through our neighboring houses).

The kids had “school photos” — which entailed setting an appointment and driving the kids there for a short session with the photographer. KrisDi took care of that. This is how they dressed.

I have no idea why, but this is how Chilkoot attended school one day.

Edit: KrisDi told me that this was actually a rehearsal for Kettleworks, and the director was wondering why Chilkoot wasn’t paying attention and kept disappearing. “No, he was just looking down to write stuff in his notebook, and you couldn’t see him.”

KrisDi and I planned on going to Bend, OR for a long birthday weekend without the kids. Consequently, she made me a small cake beforehand and we did the song + candles + presents on the 11th. KrisDi and/or the kids got me three exciting whiskies: Aberlour 10 and Aberlour 16 Single Cask Distillery Reserve (which you can’t buy in the US) and Benriach 2005 Cask Bottling (of which there are only 154 bottles). I also got a pair of running pants (for me, pajama pants).

For my birthday, KrisDi planned a three night trip to Bend, Oregon, taking the Friday before and the Monday after off as vacation days. The main reason was beer, of course, but there was plenty of interesting food and hiking as well. We focused on the beer, naturally.

We left about 6:00 AM and got takeout breakfast at Screen Door in Portland. We ate it at a standup table on their patio. Then we drove some more. There were some beautiful sights on the side of the road as we approached Mt. Hood and got closer to Bend.

We stopped at Wild Ride for a couple flights of beer and then drove the rest of the way to our AirBnB, walked to Boneyard’s original brewery location about a minute away, and then walked to Crux. From Crux, we walked to Monkless and had a couple beers and some food. Then we stopped at Immersion on our walk back to the house, and then stopped again briefly at Market of Choice to stare at the incredible beer selection.

  • Wild Ride had OK beer. They were really good at getting the smell and flavor of pot into their IPAs.
  • Boneyard didn’t have any kind of a serving area, just a window with a lady behind it. She gave us samples and we chatted, and it was really nice.
  • Crux had really good beer. I know them for their barrel aged beers, and they delivered. Their space was really cool. I especially liked the giant letters in their fire. They had a ton of outdoor space. They also had a taco truck, where we ordered a late lunch.
  • Monkless was pretty busy (they told us there would be a 30 minute wait, so we ordered a beer and prepared to loiter, and they sent us to a table before we could taste them). I had never tried any of their beer before this visit. Their beer is Belgian style, and is pretty good. Their space is really cool, kind of trendy in terms of rough wood tables and dim but artistic incandescent lights. The food we got there was pretty good, too.
  • Immersion was cold. They lit a wood fire right next to us, but it was still cold. The beer we had there was pretty good. We also had some poutine there.

The next day, we ordered takeout from the Victorian Cafe for breakfast, which was good. Then we went for a short, mostly easy hike around Shevlin. It was cold, shadowy, and elevated enough that there were patches of crunchy snow and some icicles around. We saw two different kinds of woodpecker, but not much else aside from pretty trees and river and hills and whatnot.

Afterward, we stopped at the Newport Avenue Market to ogle their beautiful beer collection. We did actually buy some here, and then we headed back to the house, put beer in the fridge, and walked out for lunch at a food truck court. I got Thai, which was really good (and actually respectably spicy), and KrisDi got some kind of a “crunchwrap” at a Mexican truck that used Beyond Beef. Then we walked to a few breweries.

  • Deschutes is on my list of big, rock solid respectable craft breweries that also have a couple really high quality offerings. That’s pretty much what we experienced with their taster flights. While there, I was reminded that I had heard of a whisky made from their famous Black Butte Porter, and when I asked about it, I got into a conversation with the employee, and he called the local distillery tasting room on his cell phone to ask if they still had it. They told me they had three bottles of the three year left, as well as some of the five year.
  • GoodLife was our next stop. I’ve tried a couple of their beers before, and they’ve been pretty good, though not great — but it was mostly a stop on the way to the next brewery where we could hang while we waited for it to open. We each had a pint and then we shared one. Then we walked around the building to the next stop.
  • Ale Apothecary was my favorite stop of the whole trip. It’s a wild / spontaneous brewery. There was a line to get in, since there wasn’t much seating. It smelled so good and was filled with the beauty of barrels and wood all over the place. The lady working the counter was the owner / brewer’s wife, and she was delightful to talk to, about beer we both like and beer they make. They only had five things on tap, but they were all at least interesting and at least one of them was fantastic. They also had some really interesting lighting.
    • Edit: At the time of posting, I had forgotten about the “special pour” they gave us, “RBG” (Raspberry Blend Gose), even though it wasn’t supposed to be ready yet. I’ll let KrisDi comment with anything she remembers, if she feels like it.

Our friends from Oregon drove up from Medford and met us at Ale Apothecary. Then they drove us (and the substantial amount of beer that we bought there) back to the house. And then I did something weird: Got a bunch of expensive beer for free from a stranger.

Before the trip, I asked a Northwest forum on BeerAdvocate for advice on beery places to visit in Bend, and offered to bring Seattle beer to one person who gave me some (excellent) advice. He said he’d stopped drinking a year ago, so I offered him a piece of my birthday cake and a bottle of hot sauce made by KrisDi. He then sent me a link to his “cellar” of 360ish beers, asking if I was interested in any of them (I am interested in all of them). I didn’t want to take advantage of him, and I just told him the one I was most interested in (which is expensive) and offered to pay for it. We met up with him at our AirBnB after Ale Apothecary and gave him cake and hot sauce, and he gave me a box of beer, which I would estimate at roughly $150-175 value. I got the better end of that deal. That dude’s pretty nice, and I plan to find some way to pay him back in the future.

And then out to Market of Choice, where I bought another substantial amount of beer. And then out to the distillery tasting room, where I bought the last bottle of 3 year and a bottle of 5 year Black Butte whisky. And then to a pizza place to get deep dish to take back to the house for dinner. We ate and chatted for a while, tasted the whisky and shared a beer, and that was the day.

Sunday, we had a little bit of a late start. We went back to Victorian Cafe for more take out breakfast. Then we walked around downtown Bend, around the river, got some coffee. We started to hit breweries for lunch.

  • Bend Brewing. They didn’t have much in the way of trendy or gimmicky styles. But they had a great porter and a great pilsner and really solid IPAs. I was pretty impressed with their beer. We ate inside. We had schnitzel. It was very well cooked, tender on the inside and crispy on the outside and quite juicy, but under-seasoned. The pretzel was really good.
  • Then we walked to Worthy, because it was nearby. Another place I’ve had a few beers from, but never been impressed. Enjoyed the stop, but nothing special.
  • A bit more of a walk to Sun River. Trendier, more gimmicky beer. Barrel aged and with stuff like pineapple or cinnamon added. They had a hefeweizen that supposedly won gold at GABF twice, but I thought it was just OK.
  • Sun River basically shared a building with Boss Rambler Beer Club (they actually shared a counter with a hipster coffee shop), which was mostly trendy and hip kind of vibe, though their hazy IPAs were pretty darn good.

From there, we headed back to the house, and our friends headed home. We ordered sandwiches (I got tri tip). I was really tired, and fell asleep on the couch, and that was the end of the evening. We cleaned up the house the next day and drove home, stopping for ramen in Portland. It had snowed overnight through the mountains, but it had been plowed before we drove it. Some parts of it were slightly worrisome, but nothing serious.

Djiboutian Phoenix sent me a bottle of bourbon as a birthday present, which arrived a day or two after I got home.

It was interesting to be away from home, and also away from the kids, and actually go out to places and do things at those places besides just pick stuff up and leave.

I’m forty now.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

March 2021 Part I

Click here or on the owl above for the rest of the photos

The kids continued with their coaching, completed their auditions, and got their castings for their ongoing Kettleworks production. Chilkat will be Olaf (just like she wanted), as well as the bishop. Chilkoot is Pabbie, the Duke of Wesselton, a townsperson, and he’ll also be Sven (the reindeer) for a different version of the production.

Spring is here and the tulip and crocus bulbs KrisDi planted are starting to come up. Unfortunately, something in the neighborhood (probably rabbits) thinks they’re delicious.

KrisDi got a haircut. Unrelated, and a bit more important, she also got her covid-19 vaccine (Pfizer), through the military because she’s an “essential worker” due to the fact that she supports defense.

Chilkoot started hybrid school on March 4th. That means he goes to school in the morning MTThF, and asynchronous remote in the afternoon MTThF + W morning. He rides the bus. So far, we’ve made sure someone goes with him and is there when he returns. Sometimes his sister joins. He’s the only kid in the neighborhood at the bus stop right now (but that might change next week when other kids start hybrid school). The first couple days, he seemed fine and seemed like he was enjoying it, but for whatever reason he decided not to talk for 10-20 minutes after he got back, answering all questions with gestures and grunts. Everything seems fine now. He has the same teacher he’s had remotely since the beginning of the school year, and many of the same classmates, and a bunch of his friends have ended up being physical classmates.

He says it’s fun. They start with morning work, then morning meeting, math, writing, recess, reading, and then go home, then some remote stuff (reading/phonics and specialists and small reading group).

Chilkat sometimes asks for over-easy eggs for breakfast, but we learned that Chilkoot doesn’t like soft-boiled eggs.

Dr. Seuss books were recently banned for racist imagery, leading to a spike in their value. We happened to have a compilation book that included a couple of these, and Krisdi tried to sell it on eBay. Bids got up to $177.50 for a book we bought for $15 or less, but then eBay took the listing down so it didn’t get sold.

We had another food truck come into the neighborhood to sell barbecue; HB and his two older kids came out and they gallivanted about the neighborhood while we ordered and waited for our food, which was pretty nice for everyone involved. An owl also landed in a tree right next to our house, which was pretty cool, and afforded some pretty nice photo opportunities.

KrisDi bought a little rack for our clean and dirty masks.

I finally rearranged our garage storage so that KrisDi’s and my bikes can stay inside and I can open my trunk when I’m parked.

Chilkoot disappeared one morning. I was in meetings and KrisDi probably was, too. The kids’ door opened and they left. Chilkat was downstairs on her iPad or having breakfast or something (she’s often earlier than Chilkoot). But Chilkoot wasn’t downstairs on the couch or in the kitchen, or in his room…turns out he went into our room and collapsed on our bed with the lights on and door open.

I changed the oil in KrisDi’s new car on Saturday the 5th, with little pomp but some circumstance. It’s always an adventure changing oil in a car you’ve never worked on before. I don’t have the right oil, I don’t have the right filter, I don’t have the right tool to remove the oil filter, I don’t have any idea what the “drip range” is once the drain plug is removed. So it took forever, I had to take a trip to buy new tools, and I made a huge mess. But I got it done.

On the night of Sunday the 6th, KrisDi noticed a mouse running around near our fireplace in the living room, and freaked out a bit more than I would have guessed. The next day, while we were working, I was interrupted by her screaming while I was in a meeting, because a mouse was running around in the dining room where she was working.

So I bailed from the one-on-one I was having with an employee, and between the two of us we caught the mouse between one of my shoes and a piece of tupperware. I took it outside, walked halfway down the block, shook the poor bastard up and flung him down on the road and smacked him with the shoe.

Then we went back to meetings.

Later, Krisdi decorated our house with things that reek of lavender and/or fir to try to repel mice, and we called a local pest control company.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 3 comments

February 2021 Part IV

Click here or on the birthday photo above for the rest of the photos

The day after Chilkat’s birthday, we hosted a second one for family. This time some of the cake actually got eaten. More presents, and time with the cousins. Possibly the most notable occurrence was the cheesy photos in front of the red carpet backdrop. P Dubs’ was my favorite.

KrisDi bought a bench chest to put in our bedroom, so now we have a storage place for some exercise equipment like resistance bands, weights, and yoga mat.

Chilkat has grown I think almost six inches in the last year. I’ll have to put up a comparison of photos soon.

We visited the Popes for whisky and pizza, which was fun. They just completed their second year of parenting for three.

Chilkat had her yearly doctor appointment, with no big surprises, except that she’s statistically pretty tall (which seems weird because her friends tower over her). We already knew she was statistically pretty thin. In both cases, within the normal range.

The kids have been spending a substantial amount of time preparing for their Frozen auditions. As I write this, the auditions are complete, but the cast hasn’t been announced yet. That’s supposed to happen this afternoon.

KrisDi gussied herself up for a new photo for her work ID, but the system broke and she didn’t get to go for it. Still cute, though. My beautiful wife. <3

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 0 comments